Notorious B.I.G. Asked The Important Questions On “What’s Beef?”

1997 Bad Boy Entertainment

1997 Bad Boy Entertainment

The Notorious B.I.G earned his reputation as a legendary emcee through classics like “What’s Beef?”

The Notorious B.I.G is widely hailed as one of the greatest rappers of all time, a distinction that would elicit few arguments from the hip-hop community. Yet sadly, the long-hailed king of New York only has two studio albums to his name — his 1994 debut Ready To Die and his 1997 double-album Life After Death, recorded during his lifetime but released sixteen days following his murder.

Though the album spawned some of Biggie’s major hits, including “Mo Money Mo Problems” and “Hypnotize,” it also contained some of his signature darker cuts — including the brutal and introspective “What’s Beef,” a track that many still hold as one of Biggie’s crowning achievements. Featuring some truly disturbing lyricism that would never fly in today’s climate, Biggie held nothing back as he examined the consequences of engaging in real street warfare. “Man, listen, straight torture, look what that slick shit bought ya,” he spits, in the climactic third verse. “A first-class ticket to Lucifer, real name Christopher.”

A disturbing examination into the twisted mind of one of rap’s greatest lyricists, “What’s Beef” remains an integral piece of the hip-hop canon to this day. Twenty-fours years removed from the initial release of Biggie’s sophomore album Life After Death, revisit one of the most influential tracks to emerge from his deep and storied catalog.

QUOTABLE LYRICS

Man, listen, straight torture
Look what that slick shit bought ya
A first-class ticket to Lucifer, real name Christopher
Here lies your demise, close your eyes
Think good thoughts, die while your skin start to glisten
Pale blue hands get cold, your soul’s risen

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